Budgetary Evasion: World Bank, IMF Red card NTGL
October 26, 2004
Both World Bank (WB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), have red carded the Charles Gyude Bryant-led Transitional Government of Liberia for being financially indiscipline; writes-R. Karpeh Reeves.
WB and IMF, through their respective representatives to Liberia, made the disclosure yesterday at an impromptu press conference held at the UNMIL Headquarters in Congo Town, Monrovia. Mats Karlsson, World Bank Country Director for Liberia, Ghana and Sierra Leone said, even though the NTGL had started on a good footing in terms of managing the financial resources of Liberia by setting up the centralized collection system, the government’s recent past financial records have proved a downward trend. “There are deficiencies in expending the 2004/2005 US$18m budget. There is no transparency in the budget, as finances are being expended outside of the budget as approved by the National Legislative Assembly (NTLA)”, Mr. Karlsson revealed.
He said the financial reform process as initiated by the NTGL was not “proceeding as there are some weaknesses in expending the budget. The budget needs to be balanced and financial discipline instituted; that is the only way the sanctions placed on Liberia by the IMF can be lifted. You need a strong reform movement and we will do our part to reduce the external debts in order for Liberia to return to the good old days of the 70s and the 80s”, Mr. Karlsson assured.
He said during the recently held Washington meeting, there was review on NTGL’s progress in terms of managing Liberia’s resources and consequently held dialogue with Chairman Bryant, as well as authorities of both Finance Ministry and the Central Bank of Liberia and cautioned them to strengthen the capacity of the CBL. “We are here to take stock of the recent past. We have received cooperation to this effect and that no spending outside of the budget. This is a real, real test case for Liberia-transparency in expending the budget.” If the US$18 Million dollars budget can be managed properly, it will reassure the international community that Liberia is ready,” Mr. Karlsson concluded.
For his part, IMF Chief of Mission for Liberia, Arnim Schwidrowski said, as a stage setting, the NTGL needs to put its house in order by strengthening and instituting financial discipline. “The world has been watching Liberia and that there has been sway from the budget”, adding “There is need to sit up so as to attract huge investment in the private sector by ensuring peace, reconciliation and exercising financial responsibility,” Mr. Schwidrowski stressed.
Currently there is a growing public outcry as to the huge spending by the NTGL of luxuries including cars for government officials while the nation especially the city of Monrovia stands in darkness and also with out water.